Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Crisis for Peter Wood?

In the April 1, 2006 New York Times, anti-lacrosse extremist Peter Wood offered an interpretation of athletics at Duke dripping with the condescension of a figure safely ensconced in the upper middle class. While stereotyping all lacrosse players as bad people, he mused that “the football players here are often rural white boys with baseball caps or hard-working black students who are proud to be at Duke.”

It turned out that Wood’s allegations against the lacrosse players were baseless: (1) He claimed they had cut one of his classes to attend a practice, even though the absence was travel-related and had been cleared by the appropriate dean; (2) He claimed that one of them advocated genocide against Native Americans—on the basis, as he admitted to the New Yorker, of an anonymous student evaluation in a class of 65.

This morning’s Chronicle brings news that Wood’s stereotype might be shattered from another direction. With his team’s kicking game in disarray, football coach Ted Roof and his assistants held open tryouts for a placekicker. The star of the tryouts? Lacrosse player Bo Carrington, who was invited to try out at practice.

Carrington was a placekicker in high school. He told the Chronicle, “It’s been a long time. If there’s anything we can do to help out... if it’s kicking the ball or doing anything else, and we can help the team win, then, absolutely, I’ll do it.”

[It’s worth noting that in the photo of him trying out, Carrington was not wearing a baseball cap. He is, however, one of the hardest working Duke students I have encountered over the past 18 months.]

If Carrington makes the team, perhaps Wood can issue a press release modifying his remarks to the Times by announcing that his stereotypes of the football team do not apply to placekickers.

Hat tip: D.D.


Anonymous said...

If this is really all there is to write about, it must be a slow day in DIW land.

Anonymous said...


Bo Carrington place kicking? Now THAT'S actually worth watching!!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Bo on making the team!

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.49:

Today's long post was on the Herald-Sun (see below).

Anonymous said...

This just great, KC. Take that Peter.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this posting.

Anonymous said...

12:49, the god is in the details. Drop by drop you get a flood. Snowflake by snowflake, you get an avalanche. Folly by folly exposed, you get Durham in Wonderland.

inman said...

Someone should place a kicking tee near Peter Wood's rear end and let Bo Carrington then try out.

Anonymous said...

"I think a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people," Cooper said. "I think those people ought to consider doing that."

Peter Wood is one, his good friend Hal Crowther, who wrote a cover story about Duke picturing Peter Wood in front of the field, is another.
But at this point apologies from the G88 are too late and about as sincere as Nifing's apology. The ones who should apologize are Brodhead, Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson.
Instead, what the G88 should really do if they have any integrity is refuse the university's offer of immunity for their actions and statements.
Immunity for the G88 and other faculty was in Duke's interest because discovery for suits against any admin or faculty - Dean Sue, Brodhead, Curtis, and Peter Wood for example- would implicate Duke as an institution.

But if the reports I'm hearing are correct, some key players in the G88 have been making some pretty incredible statements - in the past two months - about the players and the case. If they really believe what they are telling people, they should honorably refuse to be immunized by the settlement and let the truth come out. For the same reason, Durham should not settle for only $10 million per player. This is peanuts given the intent and performance of Durham officials, and settling the case will sweep it under the rug.

Anonymous said...

We missed playing summer league with Bo here in Charlottesville, VA this year. Best of luck Bo!!!!

TaterCon said...

Thanks, KC. A light, tongue in cheek nudge at pomposity makes for a good post every now and then.

Anonymous said...

"If Carrington makes the team, perhaps Wood can issue a press release modifying his remarks to the Times by announcing that his stereotypes of the football team do not apply to placekickers."

I was taught early on that thinking in stereotypes gets you in trouble as they tend to shortcuts to thinking.

Too bad the group of 88 did not learn that same lesson.

Anonymous said...

In the law suit that may be filed by the other players;

Woods can explain the "new math" 1 anonymous statement in a class of 65 = a lax player.

It should be fun to see a Prof explain his proof. Maybe he could get the proof published in a mathematical journal.

Debrah said...

A question for someone who remembers the article written by Hal Crowther back in 2006...not long after the Hoax began.

Was it Peter Wood he mentioned in that article or was it Bill Chafe?

I'm sure both are his friends; however, I think it was Wood.

After reading from a link to Crowther's pathetic column that he wrote after Cooper declared the lacrosse players innocent that someone provided yesterday.....I have been seething about it since.

I intend to contact him personally or send in something to the Indy rag.

I really wish I had seen that column when it first came out; however, I rarely read that publication...by design.

I don't catalogue these things the way KC does, and it's so difficult to remember all the horrific players in the Hoax.

There have been so many.

mac said...

I hope Carrington makes the team, both for him and for Duke Football, as well as to highlight just how talented some of these lacrosse players are 'cross the board. He's surely raise the IQ of what is NOT a dumb team.

Besides, the publicity for the case against the 88 and the City of Duhh would be priceless.

Meanwhile, Pecker Wood (I'm sure he was bullied with that name as a child, which maybe why he doesn't like jocks) can go sniff somewhere else.

miramar said...

If I were an African-American football player at Duke, I would be offended by Wood's comment that the team is full of "hard-working black students." That's obvious academic shorthand for not very bright. If an anti 88 professor like Steven Baldwin had made that comment, they would have him tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

AF said...

Can't you read??????Memo to: Editor Ashley

Congratulations to a team player--Bo just wants Duke to be successful. How ironic that a student has that ideal and 88 faculty members and most of the administration only give a flip about themselves. Talk about tunnel vision--and the tunnel they are viewing is the same one I saw years ago on a surry tour (most interesting when the proverbial sh-- hit the ground). These guys are suffering from sphincter vision (they see the world looking from their asses!!)!!

Debrah said...

In trying to refresh my memory and checking out Duke's Peter H. Wood, I came upon this column written in June on the lacrosse case by another Peter Wood.

Very good.

Not that Peter Wood

scott said...

Referring to Wood:

While stereotyping all lacrosse players as bad people, ...

Wasn't Peter Wood a lacrosse player at Harvard 2 generations ago?

If so, with Wood making that stereotypical comment, are we to presume

1. he is referring to all CURRENT lacrosse players?
2. he is referring to all lacrosse players at any time and any place except those who played at Harvard when he did?
3. he is including himself with all other lacrosse players as a bad person?

Actually, of course, it is none of these. In a group as large as "all lacrosse players" there some exemplary people, some middle of the roaders, and some jerks.

Peter Wood is a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Well, can Wood evidence the biting sarcasm directed at his own teaching in such a comment. It is a comment that may not be racist at all in its intent. It might rather be interpreted in the light of this man's interpretation. By the way, are the white boys with baseball caps hard working and proud to be at Duke? How do you read that sentence given Wood's bigotry. The "or" is a co-ordinating conjunction of equals but the "glad to be at Duke" comes in the latter part of the sentence. What up wit dat! Just apologize . . . for being part of the mob.

gwallan said...

If Carrington makes the team, perhaps Wood can issue a press release modifying his remarks to the Times by announcing that his stereotypes of the football team do not apply to placekickers.

Nah. He'd say the the stereotypes of the LaCrosse team now also apply to the Football team.

Anonymous said...

until individuals like Wood are removed root and branch from academe, nothing has been accomplished

Anonymous said...

Wood is a typical campus lefty. They love to make stuff up to fit preconceived notions

Duke has more people of low character per capita than any place on earth.

mac said...

I'm more than a little tired of people like Wood saying "white BOYS." Imagine him saying "black BOYS with baseball caps."

It's repeated all the time:
"Privileged white boys."
Time for that crap to stop. It's denigrating, just the way they used to call black men "boy," as if referring to a dog. Now when they use it for "white boys," they're using it just the same way - as if referring to a dog.

As we used to say in 7th grade (when we were actually boys):

"If you see a BOY, you kiss his..."

Don't call me "boy" unless you plan to get your butt kicked.

Anonymous said...


Your pals on the blog refer to the LAX 3 as "boys" all of the time. Is that ok? Is it just when the person using "boys" writes/says something with which you disagree when you get upset?

I hope you respect all people and don't refer to women as "girls" or female firefighters as "firemen." And so on and so forth...

Anonymous said...

Mac, Who is the unknown "they"? Is it like the royal "we"?

no justice, no peace said...

(Excuse me wrong thread)
Did someone mention Peter Woods? I posted the following several months ago after reading Roger Kimball's excellent book, "The Rape of the Masters".

I won’t go as far as saying the loopy stuff being taught is throwing gas on the fire. The Gang of 88 did that, this (the following) then is more akin to placing the logs. This is the pap that, in my opinion, sets the framework for tragic events such as this (race baiting hoax) one.

Race, gender, and class warfare apologists like to add and change meaning. Is there more to a painting or do certain people divine text from images that don’t exist to serve collective political ends?

I have no idea of Dr. Wood’s involvement one way or the other with recent events at Duke. But I do find the following critique endemic to the larger problem(s) associated with race, class welfare, and gender studies b.s. being jammed down students throats. This approach sure isn’t solving any problems…it’s time for reform, on every campus. The effort to drive race politics isn’t limited to rape trials…

The Gulf Stream, Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer’s own words:

“You ask me for a full description of my Picture of the “Gulf Stream” – I regret very much that I have painted a picture that requires any description – The subject of this picture is comprised in its title…I have crossed the Gulf Stream ten times & I should know something about it. The boat & shark are outside matters of little consequence. They have been blown out to sea by a hurricane…” – Winslow Homer, a reply to a request to explain the painting “Gulf Stream”

Duke Professor’s (Peter Wood)book reviewed (Amazon):

“In “Waiting in Limbo; A Reconsideration of Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Steam” Peter Woods, ties the painting to race and slavery and colonialism. “Perhaps no other American painting is at once so familiar and so little understood as Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream (1899). For more than a century, scholars have praised the artist and yet puzzled over this harrowing scene of a black man adrift in the open sea, in a derelict boat surrounded by sharks. Critical commentary, when it has departed at all from the painting’s composition and coloring, has generally viewed The Gulf Stream as a universal parable on the human condition or as an anecdotal image of a coastal storm.

There is more to this stark masterpiece, says Peter Wood, a historian and an authority on images of blacks in Homer’s work. To understand the painting in less noticed but more meaningful ways, says Wood, we must dive more deeply into Homer’s past as an artist and our own past as a nation. Looking at The Gulf Stream and the development of Homer’s social conscience in ways that traditional art history and criticism do not allow, Wood places the picture within the tumultuous legacy of slavery and colonialism at the end of the nineteenth century.

Viewed in light of such events as the Spanish American War, the emergence of Jim Crow practices in the South, and the publication of Rudyard Kipling’s epochal poem "The White Man’s Burden," The Gulf Stream takes on deeper layers of meaning. The storm on the horizon, the sharks and flying fish in the water, the sugarcane stalks protruding from the boat’s hold—-these are just some of the elements in what Wood reveals to be a richly symbolic tableau of the Black Atlantic world, linking the histories of Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.

By examining the "present" that shaped The Gulf Stream more than a century ago, and by resurrecting half-forgotten elements of the "past" that sustain the painting’s abiding mystery and power, Wood suggests a promising way to use history to comprehend art and art to fathom history.””

mac said...

7:19 am

I don't call young women "girls."
Most of us posters have routinely referred to the young men on the lacrosse team as..."young men."
So you can take the double standard and shove it: when Peter Wood calls the black thletes "hard working black students, but the white ones as "rural white boys with baseball caps on..." he's being discriminatory.

7:20 am,
Are you daft? I said, "people like Wood." That's how my entry began, and if you can't pull that down to the next paragraph, you're not bright enough to be blogging.
Bright enough to be "Bigas" - (but that's saying the same thing, isn't it?)

Anonymous said...

Hmm....somewhere down the road Professor Wood lost his bearings - when I was at Duke over 25 years ago he was respected, and while clearly very liberal, appeared to care about students. His comments do show the dangers of continuously being in an echo chamber where other points of view are not appreciated or discussed. I think that explains what he has become. A former athlete himself, he clearly knows that there are some athletes that do athletics and academics extraordinarily well (admittedly not enough of them, but more are found at Duke than almost anywhere else), and his form of prejudice is neither fair nor accurate.

I never had Professor Wood as a teacher - although one of my majors was history. He did call me, once, however, to check up on my roommate - a student of significant - as in very significant wealth - and inquire (appropriately) as to whether something was wrong and if I could help him find my roommate because he not attending class regularly or turning his work in - he showed genuine concern. I was impressed - rich kid (and very rich indeed) or not, he did not want a lost soul in his class.

And it makes me wonder how he and some of the Gang of 88 ended up where they did. Amidst all of intellectual back and forth, there seems to be a lack of basic concern for 18-22 year old young people, and their growth and development. Everything to the Gang of 88 appears to be about some form of "ism" or narrative as opposed to a focus on having young people develop, mature and engage in truly critical thinking, irrespective of politics or personal preferences.
And this stuff matters - the character traits exhibited by Terry Sanford and Ken Pye stick to me this day - even if I didn't always agree with their policies.

I was a scholarship athlete at Duke - and in fact was in a honors history program that required a very rigorous thesis as well as additional coursework. I not only did the work everyone else did, but was challenged to do even more - not an easy thing with a full time athletic "job", and finished with high honors. And the faculty was fantastic - they did not prejudge me, stereotype me as an athlete (although I did receive some kind compliments when I received press in the sports pages), label me as a white kid of privilege, or anything of the sort. They did make clear that I was to be held to high standards (very high), and also made clear that ego damage was an essential step in learning - and I better learn to handle it. In other words, they made me accountable while being supportive at the same time - exactly what good professors should do.

When I look to see the University give an award to Chauncey Nartey - an individual who felt compelled to threaten a teenage girl of a coach - a dumb mistake - perhaps not deserving of severe discipline but certainly deserving of being disqualified from a University award, I wonder what the heck happened to that dual ethic of accountability and support that I knew while at Duke.

I would have walked to the ends of the earth for my honors faculty adviser if that is what he wanted me to do - because he gave me what all young people need - a sense that he was looking out for me. Having only an ill single mother at home, he was the parent I didn't have, and I (and my honors classmates - ridiculously successful to a one) trusted him completely and in the same way. Duke should seriously ask themselves where that spirit has gone, and if any member of their sports teams currently has the same kind of perception of the faculty. I hope the faculty pause and reflect on this - because in end it won't be the ism or narrative that they will be remembered by - it will rather be the content of their character and the way in which they contributed positively to the community.

Anonymous said...

No, Mac. Most of them call them boys. "The boys." You might not, but others do. I've noticed it for quite awhile.

Kyo said...

One of 65 anonymous student evaluations possibly advocates genocide against Native Americans (I'd like to see Wood's justificatino for this conclusion), and somehow he claims it's a lacrosse player?

Advocating genocide against Native Americans? The people who invented lacrosse?

Wood is a BUFFOON.

Anonymous said...

Is bigas a communist?

Anonymous said...

The language of the group think is troll, idiot and moron.

Anonymous said...

7:00AM Will you be bringing your pals alone for the event?

One Spook said...

Anon @ 11:55 AM writes:

"I hope the faculty pause and reflect on this - because in end it won't be the ism or narrative that they will be remembered by - it will rather be the content of their character and the way in which they contributed positively to the community.

That was an absolutely outstanding post --- every word of it ... thank you.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Here's a comment from the Liestoppers Forum that I thought was exceptional:

I didn't know Bo's dad, but his aunt is a dear friend and his cousins are friends of my son's. I'd recognize his wide grin anywhere- the whole family smiles with that same open, expansive grin. There is no nicer, more upright family on the planet. When my husband died, Bo's aunt scooped up my son and took him to get a suit for the funeral- she just asked me if it was okay- I was so loopy that I hadn't even thought about the fact that a nine year old didn't have nice clothes for his father's funeral- she wouldn't even let me reimburse her. His whole family are honorable, fine people and I am proud to know them all. If anyone can help out, Bo would step up. I was sad when they left Houston, but Charlottesville has been all the better for their being there.

Bo's dad, Ed Carrington, was a lot more than a football player- see this article:

I can vouch for the fact that the highest honor given to a UVa student is named for Bo's Dad. He's also got similar exceptional legacy on his Mother's side. Bo's maternal grandfather, Lee McLaughlin, was All-American at UVa, played for the Green Bay Packers until being called to duty in WWII, coached W&L to the small college national championship only 3 years after the school reinstated the program from scratch, is enshrined in the State of Virginia Athletic Hall of Fame, and started a boys and a girls summer camp (Maxwelton/Lachlan) that the family still operates which has had a huge impact on almost 60 years worth of young people (that's my connection). He died in a tragic accident and Bo's Dad died in a climbing accident when Bo must have been a few weeks old. Quite a story all around this young man.

inman said...


As someone who often walked by the number "7" as a graduate student, I can attest to and confirm the honor that was bestowed (only as an observer -- having seen the caliber of people that were members over time -- reading of their collective impact in obituaries published by The University's alumni magazine.)

And this makes the insult of Brodhead and the '88 and Nifong and the Tramp-for-All-Time (CMG) so much the worse. This makes the events started and enabled and abetted by this group the moral equivalent of (insert maximum visual human act of insult here)** on Martin Luther King's grave.

Bo Carrington can certainly hold his head with honor, born of humble service.

** Discretion overcame rage.